Michelob ULTRA Open QA - Danielle Amiee

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 4, 2005, 4:00 pm
Q. This is a big week for you. You won the Big Break III and now you finally get the reward of playing here this week. Just your general thoughts so far?
DANIELLE AMIEE: This one is even a bigger week for me. I'm taking a humble attitude out here. I'm looking up at the girls, hoping to learn something. Everyone has given me a warm welcome here. It has been a warm welcome here. It has been a blessing.
Q. What kind of shape is your game in right now?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I was self taught all the way up through the show. Once I figured out that I won, I decided to work with a coach full time mainly on my short game. I am hoping that it will show up at the right time. I have been working hard. I am very confident.
It was just about the nerves and adrenaline rush. If my scores aren't there, it is due to something else other than my swing.
Q. What are your expectations?
DANIELLE AMIEE: My expectation is to make the cut. That is the good goal to set for myself with an added pressure.
Q. I am from Britain we actually saw some it over there. When did it start and finish?
DANIELLE AMIEE: We filmed it within 12 days, and each day was an episode and was edited and put together into an episode a week. Basically it broke down to 11 episodes total.
Q. So who is the coach that you have?
DANIELLE AMIEE: My new coach is Glen Deck at Pelican Hill Golf Club. Ranked top 100.
Q. What is his name?
DANIELLE AMIEE: Glen Deck. Very high regards to him. He put in a lot of extra hours with me.
Q. Have you seen anything out here in terms of the way women physically hit the ball that surprised you?
DANIELLE AMIEE: When I started to drive through, just driving around the golf course, watching other girls play yesterday, I was surprised to see the consistency with their drivers. These girls are long and straight. I think the tee shot is important out here. It sets up for the second shot and their scoring. I was surprised to see that.
Q. What are your long term goals?
DANIELLE AMIEE: My long term is to stay out here on this tour. I hope that the invite is a stepping stone. I hope that the long term goal is to maintain some credibility out here.
Q. Are you going to go to Tour school?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I made it to finals one year. Struggled through it, but I felt the pressure.
I believe that I can compete with these girls.
Q. What year was that?
DANIELLE AMIEE: It was for the 2003 Tour. I think it was 2003.
Q. What has the response been so for from some of the other players?
DANIELLE AMIEE: It has been great. Half of these people I played with on the FUTURES Tour. There are a lot of a familiar faces. They have been really warmly welcoming me here, including old school faces around the Tour. I might have been shunned; I might have been warmly welcomed.
Q. Do you ever watch the show? Were you able to watch?
DANIELLE AMIEE: Oh, did I ever. Yeah.
Q. What did you think of how you were portrayed? You were more controversial than the other women on the show in terms of your competitiveness. Do you feel like that is how you are?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I learned a lot from the show. You don't really realize your emotions you may wear on your sleeves, as they portrayed me. It is clipped and edited to make for good TV. Quote, unquote, it is a good, realistic, entertaining show.
Q. Was the tension real?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I think the tension was real. That wasn't due to the girl conflicts; it was due to the pressure, the environment, wanting to stay, long hours of the sets. Sometimes we were out until 11:30 at night due to interviews.
Q. So the personality clashes were more created by the situation?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I think it enhanced it. Every girl has different personalities. I believe that, sure, you get ten girls picked around the world to put in this show, there will be some conflicts.
Q. Is everyone on the show still on your Christmas card list?
DANIELLE AMIEE: We all still call. It has been very nice. We laugh about it now.
Q. Since the show was filmed here, is that going to give you some comfort, just the surroundings? You know some of the courses outside, where there you do all those funky drills in competition.
DANIELLE AMIEE: I feel like I haven't left since October. I resaw the whole show; I relived the steps until Tuesday. My plane ticket here was Wednesday. I feel like I have been here, yes.
Q. Could I just ask what made you enter in the first place?
DANIELLE AMIEE: A twist of fate actually got me in to the show. My club maker in Orange County told me he saw something about the Big Break III and I should research the audition spot in California. By the luck of a draw, I was sent on a golf tournament.
I went to Decatur, Illinois to play on a FUTURES Tour. I pulled up to the site. There was an audition for the Big Break III. That event was my first event of the year for the FUTURES Tour and I pulled up right into it.
Q. When did you start playing golf and what is your home course in California?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I was second year in college I was in dental hygiene school, working three jobs, I just decided on the sport of golf, picked up a golf club, hit balls ten hours a day in the summer and got a full scholarship in three weeks. It was to a lesser university but we still competed with bigger schools, like USC. I got to compete. I was very lucky.
Q. What school was that?
DANIELLE AMIEE: Long Beach State.
Q. You picked the game up and within three weeks you had a scholarship?
DANIELLE AMIEE: Yes. An instructor had seen me there on the driving range. They offered me to come in and get some status at the college to see if I had playing time on my clock. I was a full time student in dental hygiene school.
Q. How old were you then?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I was gosh, that is a good question. Time flies so much. I graduated college in '97. That was my senior year. I was 1994, '95. I am 29 now, which is all the controversy I have birth certificates.
Q. There is no age requirement here. Did you play other sports in high school?
DANIELLE AMIEE: In high school it was soccer, I was a softball pitcher for nine years. I was really into softball and gymnastics. That is where I got my timing, flexibility and strength. I moseyed my own way through in college. I graduated high school in three years.
I dated a paraplegic at the time. I had to skip a year of high school to take care of him. It was academically compressed in my scheduling. I went to college at an early age.
Q. When did you turn pro?
DANIELLE AMIEE: You are asking me hard questions. I turned pro, I believe it was the year 2000. '99 or 2000 is when I went to the FUTURES school. Somebody gave me information about Q School. I didn't know what that was. I placed 38. I thought, 'Whoa, I am going to make money at this sport.' 20 missed cuts later...
Q. Did you ever do your dental hygiene?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I worked in dental orthodontics but they didn't offer that at my university.
Q. What were you shooting after three weeks?
DANIELLE AMIEE: 82, about. I was a ball beater, as they consider it. I was a driving range guru; I didn't know much about chipping or putting or scoring.
Q. You haven't played FUTURES event in two years?
DANIELLE AMIEE: Since Decatur, Illinois I tried to play. I played only two last year for the FUTURES Tour. I got the opportunity for the Big Break. I was focusing on getting my game ready.
Q. How weird will it be in competition?
DANIELLE AMIEE: One of my strategies, I didn't want to play on the FUTURES Tour this year. I just picked up a golf course. I didn't want to put my expectation too high or too low. Work on my game, build up some confidence. I wanted to just come out here and just play some golf and see what happens.
Q. How have they been?
DANIELLE AMIEE: They have been nice. I played with Natalie Gulbis yesterday. Her reality show. It was really nice to get that pressure starting to feel what it is like to be here with the big names in golf. Her approach shots are phenomenal.
This girl is beautiful and has a great game to back it up.
Q. How different is your game now before meeting your instructor?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I think the difference between now and then is I understand where the swing is developing from. If I get in some trouble on the days I am off, I can find my way back. We have been working on wedge play. My other part of my swing takes on its on course. I got a lot of more control now then I had.
Q. What are the expectations for you?
DANIELLE AMIEE: My realistic expectations are to make the cut. I think it is a good goal. I think it is suitable to believe that that is possible for me.
Q. You received a car for winning too?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I gave the car away. Somebody has been helping me out, been supportive of me financially and positive in a way that you can't compete out here if you don't have your personal life in order with the right support. You can't compete out here. It was a gift of gratitude, to say 'thank you'.
Q. Was there a course you played in California?
DANIELLE AMIEE: Costa Mesa, a golf club. Tiger Woods used to play out there as well. The staff there is the most generous I have ever met. They gave me course time and balls at no expense. They have been helping me get to this point right now. If it wasn't for them I might not be here.
Q. Are there any other benefits that the Golf Channel gave you?
DANIELLE AMIEE: That is really hard because Big Break III finale confidentiality ended on Tuesday the 26th. I had a plane ticket on the 27th.
You know, I am taking it in a low level. If something happens, I would be gracious and excited to accept it.
Q. Has the stretch from October to now been difficult, the pressure of having to keep quiet?
DANIELLE AMIEE: It was very difficult, and then to see how sound bites were edited, things taken out of context, you kind of mentally question yourself.
The best part is that everybody out there is supportive of me.
Q. Has the pressure been building that this day is coming?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I think today is probably the most pressure, and tomorrow morning my heart will be racing. I hope I can get that under control.
Q. Are you going to look for other exemptions on tour this year as well?
DANIELLE AMIEE: Yeah, absolutely. I would be honored to fill that spot. If not, I understand.
I am here through a television show and some celebrities that brought me here. I am under a humble statement and appreciate being here. I tell every girl here, 'Thank you for welcoming me here.'
Q. When the show started I believe there were four exemptions, when you won they said it was two.
DANIELLE AMIEE: We were all told that it was exemptions in the LPGA, including one at Kingsmill. That was the way it was stated in the contracts. We were left in the dark when we were filling in here. We didn't know what event we would be playing. I am doing Kingsmill, Corning Classic, and a celebrity event in Reno Tahoe so far. Depending on how I play, I am sure other sponsors may ask me to come in and fill some spots this year.
Q. If not, what is the plan?
DANIELLE AMIEE: The plan is to work with the coach. My goal would be Q School at the end of the year. A good strategic plan of how to get my game from a B-plus to an A-minus.
Q. But no more FUTURES Tour?
DANIELLE AMIEE: The FUTURES Tour was a great developmental tour. It keeps you skilled if you are not in between events. Unfortunately the expense is more incoming than outgoing. It was not a long term goal. There is not much return in the FUTURES Tour unfortunately. Those girls are shooting 14 under in three rounds of golf. The courses are not in any good a shape as the LPGA or PGA Tour. That is a strong field on the FUTURES Tour.
Q. Have you ever played here while you were filming the show?
DANIELLE AMIEE: We played on the river course due to weather. The course was dormant.
We played 16 and 17. Hole 16, we did long drive and we did breaking of the glasses.
The rest of it was shot between the Plantation and the Woods. The Woods course is where the match play was, where I won.
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill
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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.

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    Tour's Integrity Program raises gambling questions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 17, 2018, 7:00 pm

    The video begins with an eye-opening disclaimer: “Sport betting markets produce revenues of $1 trillion each year.”

    For all the seemingly elementary elements of the 15-minute video PGA Tour players have been required to watch as part of the circuit’s newly created Integrity Program, it’s the enormity of the industry – $1 trillion annually – that concerns officials.

    There are no glaring examples of how sport betting has impacted golf, no red flags that sent Tour officials into damage control; just a realization that with that kind of money it’s best to be proactive.

    “It's important that in that world, you can operate not understanding what's happening week in and week out, or you can assume that all of our players and everybody in our ecosystem understands that that's not an acceptable activity, or you can just be proactive and clarify and educate,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan explained earlier this month. “That's what we have attempted to do not with just the video, but with all of our communication with our players and will continue to do that.”

    But if clarification is the goal, a copy of the training video obtained by GolfChannel.com paints a different picture.

    Although the essence of the policy is straightforward – “prohibit players from betting on professional golf” – the primary concern, at least if the training video is any indication, is on match fixing; and warns players to avoid divulging what is considered “inside information.”

    “I thought the questions were laughable. They were all like first-grade-level questions,” Chez Reavie said. “I would like to think everyone out here already knows the answer to those questions. But the Tour has to protect themselves.”

    Monahan explained that the creation of the integrity policy was not in reaction to a specific incident and every player asked last week at the Sony Open said they had never encountered any type of match fixing.

    “No, not at all,” Reavie said. “I have friends who will text me from home after a round, ‘Oh, I bet on you playing so-and-so.’ But I make it clear I don’t want to know. I don’t gamble like that. No one has ever approached me about losing a match.”

    It was a common answer, but the majority of the video focuses on how players can avoid being placed in a compromising situation that could lead to match fixing. It should be noted that gamblers can place wagers on head-to-head matchups, provided by betting outlets, during stroke-play rounds of tournaments – not just in match-play competitions.

    Part of the training video included questions players must answer to avoid violating the policy. An example of this was how a player should respond when asked, “Hello, buddy! Well played today. I was following your progress. I noticed your partner pulled out of his approach on 18, looked like his back. Is he okay for tomorrow?”

    The correct answer from a list of options was, “I don’t know, sorry. I’m sure he will get it looked at if it’s bothering him.”

    You get the idea, but for some players the training created more questions.

    How, for example, should a player respond when asked how he’s feeling by a fan?

    “The part I don’t understand, let’s say a member of your club comes out and watches you on the range hitting balls, he knows you’re struggling, and he bets against you. Somehow, some way that could come back to you, according to what I saw on that video,” said one player who asked not to be identified.

    Exactly what constitutes a violation is still unclear for some who took the training, which was even more concerning considering the penalties for a violation of the policy.

    The first violation is a warning and a second infraction will require the player to retake the training program, but a third violation is a fine “up to $500,000” or “the amount illegally received from the betting activity.” A sixth violation is a lifetime ban from the Tour.

    Players are advised to be mindful of what they post on social media and to “refrain from talking about odds or betting activity.” The latter could be an issue considering how often players discuss betting on other sports.

    Just last week at the Sony Open, Kevin Kisner and Justin Thomas had a “friendly” wager on the College Football Playoff National Championship. Kisner, a Georgia fan, lost the wager and had to wear an Alabama football jersey while playing the 17th hole last Thursday.

    “If I'd have got the points, he'd have been wearing [the jersey], and I was lobbying for the points the whole week, and he didn't give them to me,” Kisner said. “So I'm still not sure about this bet.”

    It’s unclear to some if Kisner’s remark, which was a joke and didn’t have anything to do with golf, would be considered a violation. From a common sense standpoint, Kisner did nothing wrong, but the uncertainty is an issue.

    Much like drug testing, which the Tour introduced in 2008, few, if any, think sport betting is an issue in golf; but also like the anti-doping program, there appears to be the danger of an inadvertent and entirely innocent violation.

    The Tour is trying to be proactive and the circuit has a trillion reasons to get out in front of what could become an issue, but if the initial reaction to the training video is any indication they may want to try a second take.

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    Lexi looks to shine as LPGA season begins next week

    By Randall MellJanuary 17, 2018, 6:06 pm

    Lexi Thompson may be No. 4 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, but in so many ways she became the new face of the women’s game last year.

    That makes her the headliner in a fairly star-studded season opener at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic next week.

    Three of the top four players in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings are scheduled to tee it up on Paradise Island, including world No. 1 Shanshan Feng and co-Rolex Player of the Year So Yeon Ryu.

    From the heartache at year’s start with the controversial loss at the ANA Inspiration, through the angst in the middle of the year with her mother’s cancer diagnosis, to the stunning disappointment at year’s end, Thompson emerged as the story of the year because of all she achieved in spite of those ordeals.

    Next week’s event will mark the first time Thompson tees it up in an LPGA tournament since her season ended in stunning fashion last November with a missed 2-foot putt that cost her a chance to win the CME Group Tour Championship and the Rolex Player of the Year Award, and become the world No. 1.

    She still walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for the season’s low scoring average.

    She also walked away sounding determined to show she will bounce back from that last disappointment the same way she bounced back from her gut-wrenching loss at the year’s first major, the ANA, where a four-shot Sunday penalty cost her a chance to win her second major.

    “Just going through what I have this whole year, and seeing how strong I am, and how I got through it all and still won two tournaments, got six seconds ... it didn’t stop me,” Thompson said leaving the CME Group Tour Championship. “This won’t either.”

    Thompson was named the Golf Writers Association of America’s Player of the Year in a vote of GWAA membership. Ryu and Sung Hyun Park won the tour’s points-based Rolex Player of the Year Award.

    With those two victories and six second-place finishes, three of those coming after playoff losses, Thompson was close to fashioning a spectacular year in 2017, to dominating the tour.

    The new season opens with Thompson the center of attention again. Consistently one of the tour’s best ball strikers and longest hitters, she enjoyed her best year on tour last season by making dramatic improvements in her wedge play, short game and, most notably, her putting.

    She doesn’t have a swing coach. She fashioned a better all-around game on her own, or under the watchful eye of her father, Scott. All the work she put in showed up in her winning the Vare Trophy.

    The Pure Silk Bahamas Classic will also feature defending champion Brittany Lincicome, as well as Ariya Jutanugarn, Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie, Brooke Henderson, I.K. Kim, Danielle Kang and Charley Hull.